Forrest Gump (1994)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
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Overall Rating 85%
Overall Rating
Ranked #11
...out of 22,328 movies
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Connections: Forrest Gump

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate and other historical events unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75, whose only desire is to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: March 14, 2011
$24,000,000 in its opening weekend, $329,691,196 total gross, and another $156,000,000 in rentals. As of this writing, it's #33 on IMDb's list of the best movies ever made, it won six Oscars, and critics everywhere hailed it as one of the best pictures of all time. Some would call that overrated, but me? I call it justified. Forrest Gump definitely ranks up there amongst the cinematic greats, and anybody who says otherwise is either trolling or about as smart as the title character.

You should already know the storyline by now, but if not, here it is in brief. Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) is a mentally-challenged young boy who, through a series of fortunate circumstances, manages to grow up seeing the world. He stands by his girlfriend Jenny (Robin Wright) from childhood until her death, he goes to Vietnam under the direction of Lt. Dan Taylor (Gary Sinise) and receives every award for heroism imaginable after saving his entire squad, not the least of which is Bubba (Mykelti Williamson), a solider with dreams of starting his own shrimping business. Bubba dies in the war, so Gump starts the business for him... and then gives most of the money to Bubba's mother. Not to worry though, since Gump invested in a small "fruit company" called - you guessed it - Apple. He also meets tons of famous people along the way, including two presidents, Elvis Presley, and John Lennon. However, throughout all of this, he wants nothing more than to get back together with Jenny, who is off doing her own thing in the world.

Forrest Gump is such an exceptional movie due to two things: Tom Hanks and the script. We'll start with the script, a piece of writing that is so engaging that one can't help but fall in love with it right from the opening scene. This story skirts the edge between "reality" and "fantasy" - it's a little far-fetched to believe that everything found in this film could happen to one man, but I could easily see one or two of the events happening to him. The characters are beautifully written, the story is incredibly easy to fall in love with, and though it runs for over two hours, there is never a dull moment and there is rarely a dry cheek.

The other thing that made this film was Mr. Hanks in the leading role. There is a reason that he went from "silly, disposable comedies" to "lead role in movies that nobody cares about" to Forrest Gump to "leading role in every movie ever made for ten years." The reason, quite simply, is that Tom Hanks turned in an incredible performance as the dim-witted Gump. He truly makes us connect with his character in a way that few actors can, and he comes across as so convincing that it's almost difficult to watch him in anything else without thinking about this movie. Tom Hanks has had a damned impressive career, and this was easily his brightest moment.

This is saying nothing about the rest of the cast. You've got Gary Sinise as the lieutenant, and while it's true that he hams it up in a scene or two, the character is so lovable and the actor is so engaging that we can easily overlook that minor little fault. Mykelti Williamson, though not having a huge role in the film, also turns in an extremely memorable performance as the southern boy with dreams of becoming a fisherman, while Robin Wright does a perfect job with her co-star position and manages to bring more than a couple of tears to our eyes with her performance.

The writing is also phenomenal, as the writers managed to tell a tall tale while still keeping us believing in the story. It's kind of like listening to your grandfather tell a whopper of a tale in that you know he's bullshitting you, but there's still that "what if?" in the back of your mind. It borders on fantasy at times and we know that it could never happen in the real world, yet it still never falls into "unbelievable" territory. This is to say nothing about the great lines in this movie, as... well, I'm sure that you know half of them even if you haven't seen the movie, and that should tell you something.

Forrest Gump is a perfect movie, there is simply no debating that. It tells a story that anyone can enjoy, the writing is top-notch, it has some of the best acting ever committed to film, and it even has a great soundtrack that truly fits the film instead of merely representing what was on the radio upon its initial release (as so many films do these days). The film brings laughs, it brings cheers, and it is so powerful that it will bring a tear to your eye on your hundredth viewing just as easily as it did on your first. 10/10.
Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added March 14, 2011 at 2:40pm
100% agree with the review, good job Chad. I've always love this movie and it is a pure classic, nothing wrong at all.
Nirrad #2: Nirrad - added March 14, 2011 at 11:21pm
God knows how many times I watched this in the summer of 2007. Such a fantastic movie. I never get sick of it.
Greg Follender #3: Greg Follender - added March 26, 2011 at 12:39pm
In my opinion, it isn't exactly a perfect film... far too manipulative for that... but it does stand head and shoulders over the Hollywood fare of it's time.
It borrowed quite a bit of it's punch from Allen's earlier effort, Zelig, as far as "reference" imagery goes... but it is immensely charming and easy to relate to for almost any viewer.

Good, solid filmmaking.

8.5 to 9/10
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